TITLE: Alone in the Darkness
WARNINGS: Mental Angst / Memories
STORY TYPE: Point of View / First Person (Hannibal)
CATEGORY: Angst, Drama
LENGTH: One-offDISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.
As I sit in this dusty old attic, and puff on my cigar - I notice the edge of a frame glinting at me through a pile of junk. The dim attic light reflecting a thousand thoughts and memories, of that day. A day so special I will never forget it. I reach across, bring the frame with its photo to my heart, and then look at the picture. The four of us together, me, BA, Murdock ..... and Face. My thoughts are starting to drift, and once they start it is impossible to stop them. I remember ......... the camping trip, the night after this picture was taken ....
"Murdock, lets play a little heart to heart" Face said seriously. We were all sitting in a circle, talking around a small camp fire.
Murdock looked at Face. "You serious, muchacho?".
"Yep, we go around the circle - and we explain three fears to the others. We then try to work them out together". Face said.
"What d'you think, Colonel?" BA asked, wondering what I was thinking.
Although not pleased with the fact I would have to take part in this exercise, I could see its value immediately. "Go on then, we'll start with you Face - as its your idea".
Face nodded. "Okay. My three greatest fears. Erm .... Rejection. Loneliness ..... Abandonment".
"Elaborate" I said, puffing on my cigar.
"Rejection. Well, I'd hate to have people turn their backs on me, leave me completely on my own. I feel afraid of loneliness, of being completely on my own. And, abandonment - well that's quite self-explanatory".
"You're not getting out of it that easily, kid" I said with a grin "Elaborate on abandonment".
Face was getting emotional by this point. Something has happened to him before, he seemed reluctant to open now, drawing back into himself.
"Murdock, give Face a hug" I said, indicating for Murdock to go and surround the Lieutenant in the comfort of his arms. Murdock obliged, and Face sank into the embrace, refusing to let go.
"Elaborate, Face ...." I said gently.
"What happens if you guys leave me" Face blurted out suddenly "I'd be abandoned".
"Don't be stupid, Face. We aint goin' anywhere" BA said gruffly.
I look over at BA, to silence him. "Face, as BA said so 'gently' - we're not going anywhere, we'd never leave you, not by choice anyway" I said.
Face smiled through the tears. Poor kid had a lot on his mind, he seemed very fearful he was going to lose us. I got up, walked around the fire to him, and put my arms around Murdock and Face briefly.
"You trust me, Face? Have I ever let you down?" I asked.
Face shook his head. I brushed away the tears, brushing Face's cheek fondly.
"Nothing to worry about, Face. We'll never be leaving you. We go in as a team, we'll go out as a team. Together, you'll see".
I walk back around the fire, briefly placing a hand on BA's shoulder. "Your turn, BA".
"Hannibal!! I don't wanna go sharing my fears!" BA said, complaining.
"That's an order, Sergeant". I said firmly, settling back.
BA growls. "Three fears. Man, I got no fears!".
"I'd say flying was one of 'em" Murdock said, winking. He withdrew his arms from around Face, and sat waiting, listening.
"Erm ..... I dunno! Flying, Losing and ...... erm ..... Dyin'".
I spread my arms. "Elaborate, BA ....".
"I hate flyin'! You guys know that! Been scared for years, especially when that foo' starts doin' air gymnastics! Bad enough that his pilots license was revoked, now he fly's like a death trap!".
"That's not true" Murdock said, hurt.
"Its true, man!" BA said. "Losing? I hate the thought of losing a fight, any fight. Bein' nothing because I failed. And dyin'. I just don't like the thought of it".
"Good, BA" I praised. "I must admit, I don't like death much either. Murdock?".
Murdock sighed. "My greatest fears. Losing my mind, losing my use to you guys and losing your friendships".
I smiled, and put an arm on Murdock's shoulder. "Elaborate please, Captain".
Murdock shook his head. "Just the thought of losing everything valuable to me, such as your friendships tears me apart. I can't lose my mind again, Colonel. I'd prefer to be shot than not know where I am, who I am. It happened to me once".
"You'll never lose our friendships, and you'll always be one of the team, of great use to us. You must know that, your our pilot, remember?" I said.
"Yeah" Face said, agreeing. "BA was wrong, your a great pilot".
"Sorry, man. Didn't want to hurt you" BA said, upset.
Murdock shrugged his shoulders. "Knew you loved me, big guy".
"Your turn, Colonel" Face said with a smile.
I think for a moment. "I have one truly great fear".
All eyes turned on me. "What?".
"I don't mind the thought of dyin' like BA, or getting caught. The only fear I've ever had that really tears me up is the fear of my friends dyin'. I couldn't stand the thought of losing you guys like that, you mean the world to me. I hope when the time comes, I'll get to go first so I don't see you guys suffer. That would break me". I said, revealing too much, too soon.
The guys just stare at me, their emotions tearing at their tough facades.
"We go in as a team .... we'll go out as a team, remember?" BA said emotionally. "You'll see".
"That a promise, BA?" Face asked, teasingly.
"You'll see. If one of us is dyin', I don't think the others will make it" BA said morbidly.
I put my arm on BA's shoulder. "Take my hand BA, Murdock! Take my left hand - the two of you join hands with Face".
We stayed that way for about ten minutes, just looking at each other.
"Fear Therapy. Always works" Murdock said, breaking the silence.
I laughed. "I think its time for bed, we'll have to be up bright and early for the hike tomorrow".
The others agree, Face takes first watch while I get into my tent and sleep. Barely half an hour later, a timid hand on my shoulder awakens me. I looked up at Face sleepily. "My watch ... is, ah .... after BA's".
"Hannibal ..... I heard something ..... weird out there. Sorry, it spooked me. I thought I'd come and wake you up, rather than get an earful from BA or a therapy lesson from Murdock".
"Your the one with the bright ideas about therapy sessions, kid" I said, turning my face back into the pillow.
Face sighed dramatically, gulped, and headed back outside alone.
I felt guilty, I hadn't intended for him to go back alone if he had felt there was something wrong. I hastily get dressed, grabbed a trusty sidearm, and headed outside to find Face.
I looked around in the darkness, my torch shining a piercing light into the shadows in the darkness. I shivered, Face wasn't kidding. Easy to get spooked out here.
"Face ...."I whispered, looking around for him and panicking when I couldn't find him. I went to wake up BA and Murdock, and together we went looking for the missing Lieutenant.
"Hannibal, he's gone. What happened" BA asked worriedly.
"He said he had heard something in the woods that spooked him. He was afraid, and wanted me to come out with him and check. I kinda said no, it wasn't my watch, then felt really guilty about it. I got dressed quickly, and by the time I went out to find him ... he was gone".
"Shit! Hope he aint hurt man, else I'm holding you responsible" BA said threateningly.
"Well, lets find him - we can worry about lectures later" I said. We split up, and searched the woods, never losing eye contact with each other. Finally after about an hour, despondent and tired, we headed back to the tents.
"We'll search more in the morning, there's a million places he could be" I said worried sick, trying to hide my concern, and failing.
"What's that noise?" BA asked.
There was a small whimpering coming from the direction of the tents. I ran towards the sound, followed closely by BA and Murdock. Upon reaching the tents, we were confronted by someone sitting in front of the tents, shivering, and curled up into a tight ball.
"Face!!" I gasped, running up to him, and trying to de-curl him. Finally his arms were free, and I put them around my neck, pulled him up to his feet and rushed him into his tent.
"My God Hannibal! What happened?" Murdock said, as himself and BA opened the zipper to the tent, and I laid him down on his bed inside. BA kept a watch outside, sitting at the front of the tent, as Murdock looked worriedly at Face.
Face looked distrustingly at myself, then at Murdock. "What was that, a sick joke?"
"What was a sick joke, Face?" I asked gently, trying to warm him up. He was shaking violently.
"I would have never told you what my fuckin' fears were if I knew you were going to play such a cruel joke on me!!" Face screamed.
"What are you saying, Face?" Murdock asked uneasily, totally confused.
"You left me!! On my own in this creepy place for an hour! I thought you'd gone back to the van and left me here. All the flashlights were gone!".
"Easy Face, we didn't leave you. We went searching for you cause we thought something had happened to you". I said.
"Really?" Face looked at me with a heartbroken expression and my heart broke.
"Really. And guess what?" I said smiling slightly, drawing Face into a deep embrace. It seemed as if we had joined together, our bodies pressed so tightly against each other.
"What?" Face sniffed, still unsure.
"We aint leaving you alone in this tent. Hell, Face, if I'd known how badly affected you are ..... I'd have made sure things were done differently, you wouldn't have taken first watch". I tried not to get emotional, but the paternal instinct tugged at my heart, making me vulnerable.
Face pressed harder against me, and I gently put him inside his sleeping bag, and settled beside him kissing his forehead.
Murdock sat on the other side of him, rubbing his back gently. BA sighed, and sat by the entrance of the tent, his gun ready for any intrusion.
I sigh, and replace the dusty photograph of the four of us.
I turn and see Face standing by my side. I smile "Old memories".
Face smiles gently "They get you the most, don't they?".
I nod, and suddenly gesture for Face to come closer. Confused, Face does as I want and I embrace him tightly, pulling him into my arms and holding him so tight he melts into my body and we become one. I feel his heartbeat against my chest.
"Hey, Hannibal. What's this for?" Face asks.
"A reminder" I say, gently.
"For what?" Face asks, relaxing into the embrace.
"That you'll never be alone" I say, and continue to hold him for what seems like an eternity.